A Second Cafe au lait at 10 a.m.

Routines.  When you are a pack horse, as most of us who don’t drive are, it is no easy thing to keep yourself from lifting and carrying more than 15 pounds. You’ve seen us on the bus with our plastic grocery carts, or our trendy, eco-friendly backpacks, or both.  And most pack horses do tend to be of a certain age. Fillies and colts have other agendas.

At the library, there’s always another book that seduces: the latest French cookbook that weighs in at at least four pounds, the novel you reserved three months ago that everybody was reading. It finally arrived after 347 others had already read it and it represents another two pounds. (When editors started using computers and publishers wanted to make more money, books  started to get longer and longer, didn’t you notice?), then something on travel for sleepless nights, and, oh!, there’s a new one by Anita Brookner (Yes, she’s a favorite.), maybe one or two children’s books for the grands because it is important to keep up with what they are reading.  Suddenly, the alarm in the head goes off. “Hold it!  You already have your three-pound laptop, a cord, a notebook, a black pen, a blue pen, a ballpoint pen,  a bundle of old mail, a hairbrush, hand lotion, sun screen, lipstick, a bill fold, a coin purse, three sets of keys, pictures to get copied, a phone, a newspaper, and free magazines from those sidewalk boxes, in your bag!  Plus, you need to stop at the store and pick up a half-gallon of milk,  (Let’s see, 64 fluid ounces must equal about four pounds.), something for dinner, maybe a chicken leg, and a half-a-pound of broccoli. Crackers? A baguette? Cheese? Olives? REMEMBER,  you just had surgery!”

Habits that make up our routines are hard to break, but there are times in our lives when we must use a hatchet.  Certain kinds of surgeries or injuries offer us the necessary impetus. In my experience, in my neighborhood, if you live long enough, a surgery will be more than likely be part of your aging experience and adjustments in your routine will be necessary.  If one were to write a headline for this period of life it might be, “Challenges that Offer Opportunities.”

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